Preparing today’s foster youth for a better tomorrow
The First Star URI Academy is a year-long program that aims to provide some of Rhode Island’s foster youth with improved access to college through education and exposure. During the summer and throughout the school year, students are engaged in a variety of social, emotional, educational, and self-empowering activities in which they learn skills to help them become successful students and self-sufficient adults. The students attend field trips with the purpose of exploring the state and touring different colleges, they engage in life-skills workshops, and participate in a variety of community service tasks.
The academy begins with a four-week summer residential program where students are fully immersed into the college culture of the University of Rhode Island. The students live on-campus, eat in the dining halls, use the recreational facilities, and attend classes to earn URI credits. This exposure has brought many of the students to the realization that college is an actual possibility for them.
During the school year, students and First Star staff members meet once monthly to tour college campuses, discuss the college process, and also to explore their options for a successful future. The First Star staff members also visit the students and attend school meetings as needed, as well as offer support and guidance to the students as they make their post-secondary educational decisions. In the midst of all of these educational, cultural, and enriching activities students are able to define what success means to them and start planning on how they intend to get there.